Fraudster who made £1m from banks scam ordered to pay back £50,000
PUBLISHED: 16:28 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 24 January 2020
A fraudster who targeted some of the world's biggest banks and made more than £1m by setting up more than 100 fake bank accounts has been ordered to pay back more than £50,000.
Thomas Sotiropoulos, 58, using fake identities to make online applications over a five-year period - with his victims including Santander, Virgin Money and MBNA, Norwich Crown Court has previously heard.
He carried out some of the frauds while living in Waterden, near Walsingham, but had moved to Northumberland by the time police closed in on his complex fraudulent scheme.
Sotiropoulos admitted fraud charges between 2013 and August 2018 amounting to more than £1m.
In January last year, Sotiropoulos was jailed for four years and nine months in what Judge Katharine Moore described as a "cynical" course of dishonesty.
But he was back in court on Friday (January 24) for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, said although the benefit figure was £1,153,729.26 the realisable assets were just £51,439.13.
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The defendant was given three months to pay that figure back to MBNA bank or serve 18 months in prison in default.
As previously reported Sotiropoulos used online applications to obtain fraudulent loans and credit using fake identities and documents.
The court heard Sotiropoulos often used the name 'doctor' or 'professor' to add extra gravitas to his applications and because lenders never met him.
He was able to make multiple applications and use fake addresses including addresses from the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital development.
He also set up bogus companies which he used as part of the scam to obtain cash.
The prosecution said when arrested Sotiropoulos had £7,800 in cash and said a bag containing various fake documents was also found.
It was also discovered Sotiropoulos had a "fraud kit" including documents and equipment hidden in a storage unit in Gateshead.
The offence was described as a complex fraudulent scheme which has professional hallmarks.
Ayanna Nelson, for Sotiropoulos said that he was a highly educated man and bitterly regretted his actions. She said he had a number of health issues.